25 November 2019

Manifesto Central

In the past week, all the political parties’ manifestos have been revealed and alongside these, trade associations ABTA and the Business Travel Association published their lobbying agendas to the new Government.

ABTA Manifesto: Value Tourism

ABTA published ‘Value Tourism’ urging MPs to work with the industry to secure a sustainable future.ABTA is asking the Government to prioritise three themes in the next Parliament:- Building confidence in travel, which includes working with the industry to achieve carbon reduction targets, as well as bringing forward a consultation on airline insolvency;- Securing tomorrow's travel workforce, which focuses on the need for a liberal, open, immigration regime and to secure a reciprocal deal on posted workers with the EU;- Ensuring the UK remains competitive by reducing APD in line with EU competitors and supporting high street businesses by considering targeted measures including business rates reform.

Business Travel Association manifesto calls for investment in transport infrastructure

The Business Travel Association’s manifesto asks the new Government to ensure High Speed 2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail project to be delivered as well as implementing the findings of the Williams Rail Review and ensuring Heathrow Airport expansion.

Sparse commitment to the travel industry from Conservative manifesto

Travelmole has reported on the travel aspects of the Conservative Party's manifesto, which makes clear it believes Heathrow expansion is now a private project.The manifesto says: "Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at Heathrow, but it is a private sector project….The scheme will receive no new public money."The manifesto makes a brief mention of other air commitments: "More broadly, we will use new air traffic control technology to cut the time aircraft spend waiting to land, reducing delays, noise nuisance and pollution."We will also build on Britain's pioneering work in electric and low-carbon flight."Meanwhile, a new Conservative government would consult on whether to go ahead with the HS2 rail project.

The manifesto says: "HS2 is a great ambition but will now cost at least £81bn and will not reach Leeds or Manchester until as late as 2040.

"We will consider the findings of the Oakervee review into costs and timings and work with leaders of the Midlands and the North to decide the optimal outcome."

Labour manifesto: Party hopes EU workers pledge will be reciprocated

Some of the more travel-industry relevant content in the Labour manifesto included its plans to negotiate workers rights for UK citizens in the EU by offering all EU nationals the right to stay in the UK after Brexit, reported Travel Weekly.

Labour has pledged to give EU workers, many of whom work in the UK hospitality industry, the right to stay in the UK.

And it hopes that by making that guarantee it will be able to convince the EU to offer the same deal to UK citizens living in the bloc – many of whom work in the UK’s outbound travel and tourism industry.

Labour says it will hold a second referendum on EU membership if it wins the December 12 election, with voters to choose between remaining in the EU or a “credible” Brexit option, which it has pledged to negotiate within six months of getting into power.

“This will help ensure reciprocal treatment for UK citizens living in the EU.”

Liberal Democrats propose higher APD for frequent flyers

Travel Weekly reported that frequent flyers would pay more Air Passenger Duty and airport expansion would be halted under a Liberal Democrat government.

The party’s ‘Stop Brexit’ General Election manifesto outlines plans for a £5 billion rise in the air tax levy against the £3.7 billion a year raised now mainly though those taking international flights in economy class.

However, infrequent air travellers, such as families taking annual holidays abroad, will save money, the Lib Dems claim.

Under the party’s ‘clean and green’ plans to achieve a net-zero climate target by 2045, it wants to accelerate the development of new technologies and “cut demand for flying, particularly from the 15% of individuals who take 70% of flights”.

The manifesto also pledges to support the tourist industry, described as being “vital” for many local economies, by:

  • Upgrading the status of tourism within government, by creating a Department of Digital, Culture, Media, Sport and Tourism, with a designated tourism minister.

Aito 19: Brexit will be like ‘slow puncture’ for economy – Sir Vince Cable

The UK economy post-Brexit is likely to suffer the equivalent of a “slow puncture” rather than a “blow out” but recession is on the cards, according to former Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable at the 2019 Aito Overseas Conference in Poland. Cable described the UK economy currently as being in a “bizarre Alice in Wonderland world” as a result of growing global debt levels since the 2008 global financial crisis and negative interest rates.

He said: “Assuming there is some kind of Brexit deal, we are almost certainly heading to a weaker currency.

“We are in a very unreal world. I think what we will experience is not a catastrophy, it’s more like a slow puncture – not a blow out. It’s tempting to say Armageddon will be here, but it’s not, a lot of the issues are a slow-burn.”

Another recession is likely, however, he predicted.


If you have any queries or comments contact Frances Tuke; frances@wearelotus.co.uk